UCLA Law Launches Judge Rand Schrader Pro Bono Program

October 26, 2021
Grace Meng
Grace Meng is the inaugural director of UCLA Law's Judge Rand Schrader Pro Bono Program.

To meet the growing need for pro bono legal representation to address myriad social challenges in Los Angeles, UCLA School of Law has launched the Judge Rand Schrader Pro Bono Program. The program brings all of UCLA Law’s existing pro bono opportunities under one umbrella, enhancing those offerings and creating new ones.

The program is named for UCLA Law alumnus Judge Rand Schrader '73, a pioneering attorney. Schrader lived his life as an openly gay man when doing so could result in being denied admission to the bar. He created the nation’s first LGBT law student group while a student at UCLA Law and he was the first openly gay attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office. Later, he was one of the first openly LGBT judges in the United States. “His courage and convictions inform the ethos of the school’s longstanding commitment to public service, in particular on behalf of the most vulnerable parts of the Los Angeles community,” says Brad Sears, UCLA Law's associate dean of public interest law.

“I am thrilled to launch this program,” says Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin. “It is an incredible addition to our school and will create a framework for our students to engage in new kinds of transformative work. I am also tremendously pleased that the program will honor an amazing alumnus of our school.”

The genesis of the funding that supports this new program was initiated by a bequest from the late Jesse Dukeminier, a beloved property professor at UCLA Law for many decades, and his partner, David Sanders. The Bohnett Foundation, founded by Rand Schrader’s surviving partner, David Bohnett, provided the funding to bring the initiative to scale. Other donors to the new program include Aileen Adams, Michael Fleming, Dean Hansell, Shawn Kravitz, Meyer and Renee Luskin, Burt Pines, Rob Saltzman, and Cathy Unger.

The program’s inaugural director is Grace Meng. Meng joins the law school from Human Rights Watch, where she has been associate director in the U.S. Program. As associate director, Meng has been a researcher, advocate, and writer. Her work has focused on the rights of immigrants in the United States. A former immigration law practitioner, Meng is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

“My pro bono experiences changed my life, and I’m excited to support the talented students at UCLA Law in finding pro bono work they can be passionate about and pursue throughout their careers,” says Meng.

The launch of the Pro Bono Program coincides with the launch of the school’s Public Service Challenge, a new UCLA Law tradition than invites students, faculty, and staff to commit to two hours of pro bono service between Oct. 24 and Nov. 3. During the last challenge, which was held at the height of the pandemic, more than 300 members of the law school community logged well over 600 hours of community service in just five days.

Community members can register for the Public Service Challenge up until Nov. 3.

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